Erik Morales KO 11 Daniel Zaragoza, September 6, 1997, County Coliseum, El Paso, Texas: Morales turned professional at the age of 17, and was 26-0, with 20 knockouts entering the WBC junior featherweight clash with the veteran Zaragoza, who announced his retirement after the fight.
“We discovered one of the best fighters of the last 25 years in a kid named Erik Morales who was 21 years old and had a great amateur record. He was just a dynamite little fighter taking on a Hall of Famer in Daniel Zaragoza,” said Buffer.
“It was a packed house, a building that was like a converted ice hockey rink or something. Just a great night. Morales was just so brilliand and so flawless and so perfect against a a super, Hall of Fame fighter.”
Morales dropped Zaragoza with a perfectly-placed right-handed body shot to the solar plexis, and Zaragoza could not beat the count.
“Zaragoza went down in the 11th round and it was over. He was actually on his backside, on an elbow, and hesort of tapped the floor a couple of times. He sort of tapped his own heart, looked across the ring at Morales and saluted him. It was either a wave or just an outright salute,” said Buffer.
“That was like his acknowledgement that, ‘kid, I’m passing the torch to you.’ You just can’t imagine sitting there at the table and seeing something like that. Of course, Morales goes on for the next half-dozen years or so and fights some of the greatest fights of his life. It chokes me up just remembering that. It was like it was written for a script from a Hollywood movie.”
Morales remains the last man to defeat Manny Pacquiao, doing so by unanimous decision in 2005.
Felix Trinidad MD 12 Oscar De La Hoya, September 18, 1999, Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas: The clash of undefeated Latino stars pitted the WBC welterweight beltholder of Mexican decent in De La Hoya (31-0, 25 KOs) against his Puerto Rican counterpart, IBF titleholder Trinidad (35-0, 30 KOs).
“I was kind of shocked at the final scores. After 10 rounds, I had thought De La Hoya was up eight rounds to two and then he went on his bicycle. Remember, Trinidad was wearing white trunks that were completley pink from all of his own blood,” said Buffer.
“De La Hoya had just given him a total boxing lesson. He took him apart. But without having any damage inflicted on himself, he got on the bike and ran. He was so far ahead that he thought he could dance his way to a victory but ended up with a majority decision loss.”
“That was a great fight, and I don’t take anything away from Trinidad, who is a great, great fighter, and that was quite an event,” said Buffer. “And at the time, that was a huge, huge fight with a big, celebrity turnout. Great night. I can’t believe that happened more than 10 years ago.”